Synopses & Reviews
The appearance of Zoë Wicombs first set of short stories, You Cant Get Lost in Cape Town
, precipitated the founding of a fan club that has come to include Toni Morrison, J.M. Coetzee, Bharati Mukherjee, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and writers at The New York Times
, The London Times
, The Wall Street Journal
, The New Yorker
, and The Christian Science Monitor
. Now, after two novels, Wicomb returns to the genre that first brought her international acclaim.
Set mostly in Cape Town and Glasgow, Wicombs new collection of short stories straddles dual worlds. An array of characters drawn with extraordinary acuity inhabits a complexly interconnected, twenty-first-century universe. The fourteen stories in this collection explore a range of human relationships: marriage, friendship, family ties, and relations with those who serve us. Wicombs fluid, shifting technique questions conventional certainties and makes for exhilarating reading, full of ironic twists, ambiguities, and moments of startling insight.
Long awaited, The One That Got Away showcases this established, award-winning author at the height of her powers.
"South African born Wicomb's second collection subtly portrays the shifting relations among family, friends and servants in a transformed South Africa. 'Friends and Goffels' renders the disruption in the friendship of Dot and Julie, who were once united by their dark skin color but who have been separated by Julie's years abroad and marriage to a white Scotsman. In 'Mrs Pringle's Bed,' Polly Pringle confines herself to the bed that once belonged to her daughter and, with the aid of her uncomprehending housekeeper, manipulates her bewildered husband. In these and other stories, changes in perspective open up what could be very claustrophobic narratives. Wicomb also sets many stories in Glasgow both the title story and 'There's the Birth That Never Flew' follow a newlywed South African couple on their honeymoon there; in 'In the Botanic Gardens,' Dorothy Brink makes the long journey from South Africa to Glasgow to find her son, who has gone missing. Encompassing a range of voices and attitudes, Wicomb's work impresses, though some of the diction South African and Glaswegian and nuances of class and race may elude an American audience. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Zoë Wicomb was born in South Africa and now lives in Glasgow. She is currently a professor in the department of English studies at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, and Visiting Professor Extraordinaire at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. In addition to two collections of short stories, she has published two novels, Davids Story and Playing in the Light (The New Press). She is the winner of a 2013 Windham Campbell Prize.
Table of Contents
Boy in a jute-sack hood: Page 9
Disgrace: Page 23
The one that got away: Page 37
Mrs Pringles bed: Page 51
Theres the bird that never flew: Page 65
Neighbours Page: Page 81
Friends and goffels: Page 101
Trompe loeil: Page 117
Nothing like the wind: Page 135
N2: Page 147
In the Botanic Gardens: Page 159
Another story: Page 173
Acknowledgements: Page 192